Fmr. FBI Asst. Director: Mueller Has ‘Huge Conflict of Interest’
Kallstrom says special counsel's friendship with Comey taints integrity of Russia probe
Former FBI Assistant Director James Kallstrom said, during an interview Tuesday on “The Laura Ingraham Show,” that special counsel Robert Mueller’s 15-year friendship with fired former FBI Director James Comey is “a huge conflict of interest.”
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller to continue the probe into Russian attempts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election and any possible involvement from Americans. In light of the firestorm of controversy over the firing of Comey, Kallstrom called Mueller’s selection as special counsel inappropriate and “off the charts.”
“I think it’s a huge conflict of interest. Quite frankly, I was really, really surprised and disappointed with the deputy attorney general, who first-off appointed a special counsel when there was no articulation of any crime whatsoever. And the statute actually calls for that, so that was ignored,” Kallstrom said.
"[Mueller and Comey] are close, close friends and the conflict of interest is so apparent," Kallstrom continued. "I mean, did the deputy attorney general not have access to Google? I mean, you know, check these things out? It's just unbelievable. It's off the charts."
Saying that the whole Russia probe "is a farce," Kallstrom noted that no relevant crimes have been attributed to the president or any of his associates.
"What crime are they going to be investigating? There's not even an articulated crime. In fact, from the words of a wide variety of people on both sides of the politics, there is no crime," Kallstrom said. "The whole thing is a farce in my view. It's just crazy, and I don't know what this guy was thinking, this deputy attorney general."
Kallstrom admitted that he was "shocked" Mueller accepted the position of special counsel, given his friendship with Comey and Comey's place in the media-propelled Trump-Russia narrative.
"I was really surprised that knowing Bob Mueller — I was on his advisory for almost a decade … I was shocked that he would actually accept it," Kallstrom said. "I mean, he knows that he has a massive conflict of interest. I mean, what does he think? Where does he think General [Michael] Flynn's name came from? It came from the unmasking."
"What role did Jim Comey have in the unmasking? I have no idea. I'm just saying that's a logical question," Kallstrom added. "I don't know how he could accept that assignment. I've always known him to be a man of integrity. I have disagreed with many of his positions, but I've always thought he had a lot of integrity. So I was really, really disappointed that he would even accept it."
Following Comey's highly anticipated Capitol Hill testimony Thursday, Kallstrom said that his belief that Comey was "not qualified to be the FBI director" was solidified. Comey's admission that he asked a friend to leak his memos detailing his conversations with Trump to the press, as well as the "queasiness" he expressed he felt when former Attorney General Loretta Lynch asked him to refer to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's email probe as a "matter" instead of an "investigation" cast further doubt on Comey's fitness for the job, Kallstrom said.
"But [Comey] just showed such a lack of common sense and such a lack of intestinal fortitude," Kallstrom said. "He absolutely, in my view, is not qualified to be the FBI director. But having said that, I was amazed that he would do what he did, that he would actually leak a memo through a friend, another lawyer who should know better, for The New York Times. I just think that was absolutely unbelievable."
"[Comey's] been all over the lot, you know — his rhetoric. He's confused the American public. I know that because I'm asked by the American public pretty much everywhere I go, 'What is going on at the FBI?' And a lot of that is because of Jim Comey," Kallstrom said. "He did not have the intestinal fortitude when that criminal referral came over on Clinton with the caveats that it can't be an investigation."
The day Lynch asked him to call the Clinton investigation a "matter" should have been "the day he should have resigned for the good of the country, tell the American people why he was resigning, but he did not have the guts, the intestinal fortitude , the integrity at that point in time to do that," Kallstrom said.
"And [Comey] danced with the devil and the music stopped," Kallstrom added.
Now that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is testifying Tuesday on Capitol Hill as part of the Russia probe, Kallstrom lamented that the currently fruitless investigation will most likely drag on and darken Trump's administration even further.
"[Sessions] is going before all these other people that are trying to keep this whole Russian thing going, which is a farce," Kallstrom said. "It's really time for the leadership, Republican leadership in the Congress to say, 'Enough is enough.' How many more witnesses have to come forward and say that there's nothing here?"